Music Reviews



PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE: "MASCHINEMUSIK"

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 30 2004
Artist: PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE
Title: "MASCHINEMUSIK"
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Gothelectro welding experiments, PNE's music is starchy and forceful without raw agression. Even the all-German lyrics don't detract from the experience for a wordsmith who likes to know what his CDs are saying to him. That's how marvelous PNE's delectable sound inventions (i.e. songs) are. Truly, "Maschinemusik" isn't a title to a CD. Rather, it's a label, an alert, an important piece of hey-I'm-telling-you-what-you're-about-to-be-hearing. One wonders ... is it possible the creator of these pieces is sentient artificial life? Has Vger (pronounced Vee-jer) changed careers? (Ask Spock. He might know.) Dark. Yet funky. In a way shamelessly poppy pieces of wannabe new wave back in the 80s. Or in a way real new wave was, with at least the wrapper of that decades bubble gum. Yet so assimilated (you thought my theory about the artist was paranoid too) like a motherfuckin' Borg that it's there, yet it's not.

The New York Room: 1991-1995

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 24 2004
Artist: The New York Room (@)
Title: 1991-1995
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
The New York Room is Matthew Ervin's gothic/darkwave/ethereal project, who collaborates with different female vocalists. This debut "1991-1995" features Michelle Graf who sings her heart out with a deep warmth ethereal feeling. The songs on disc talks about pain, sorrow, mourning, dying, death and darkness. This is a fine piece of work by The New York Room. Some of the tracks have world music feel like Middle Eastern, medieval, operatic, classical rhythm, and renaissance. The songs "Blue Dahalia" and "Guardian Angel" reminds me of the Cocteau Twins. "Minion Of The Gypsies" and "Within The Folds Of Angel Wings" have a similarity feel of Black Tape Of A Blue Girl. And for those who like to dance, "Ethereal Gloom" is the only perfect track to be played in the clubs. The compositions composed and arranged by Matthew is very indeed complex. His songwriting skills is so unique and challenging. A brilliant ghostly haunting melancholic album ever produced. Even the front and back cd cover of a cemetery site and a tombstone with New York Room name on it gives you an idea what the whole album is about.

VV.AA.: Strange As Angels

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 19 2004
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Strange As Angels
Format: CD
Label: Failure To Communicate Records (@)
Rated: *****

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'Strange As Angels' is a compilation tribute to The Cure produced by Sheriff Scabs featuring a host of eclectic rock bands I'm mostly personally unfamiliar with. There is one exception however and that is the opening track "Lovesong" by Darkwave humoris Voltaire. Each song on this compilation however is a unique interpretation by each artist. That in itself makes it interesting in my book. My favorite by far, though it's also my Cure favorite as well, is "A Forest" restructured here by Jupiter Blue. It's much more upbeat and rock oriented with sort of a Smashing Pumpkins feel. The song structures on the overall compilation are more rock oriented than the originals, some even sort of 80's punk, like "Plastic Passion" by Sheriff Scabs himself. The only one that really gets on my nerves and seems to not belong here is Nerve Exhibit's cover of "A Strange Day". Their drum machine is off-beat and the vocals off-key. It's almost as if they were making fun of the original trying to be bleak and dreary and show no musical talent. However, that rant ended, Egostatic shows a bit of dreampop with synth textures that are very suitable for their cover of "To The Sky". Who'd have thought "Fascination Street" could begin with a choral? That is exactly what Purple Car does but then pushes it up to a bizarre fuzzbox vocal and guitar thump. Hearts Fail doing "A Night Like This" sounds like what I'd imagine it to sound like if David E. Williams did it. Unfortunately, Venus in Furs does not compare with Robert's original "Burn" from The Crow soundtrack, sorry guys! "Pornography" by Emulsion is a completely restructured version using similar techniques as the original, minus most of the actual music, with new samples to create an unusual spoken word track with sampled and abmient textures. Overall, this project is a very interesting compilation with a few gems and a bunch left up to individual taste. I definitely give it points for uniqueness as most of the bands did not just rehash or duplicate what's already been done with about 3 exceptions not mentioned. I feel it has about 13 solid tracks out of 17, not bad at all!
cover
Artist: Compressed Infinity (@)
Title: Phase Formation
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Compressed Infinity is a Sydney Australian one man project which began in 1998. 'Phase Formation' is the sophomore release featuring 14 tracks of electronica, electro-industrial, darkwave and EBM. Utilizing mostly harsh electro and trance elements, this project is dark with an introverted sense of melancholic inquisition. Musically the compositions are smooth and easy to listen to. Softer than some electro but harsher than any Sythnpop. An interesting and unique project that could use at least a bit more variance and some vocal modifications, as some tracks the vocal textures stand out a bit too much. However, this shows all the hallmarks of a likely future contender in the electro music industry. Musically it's much cleaner and produced than many of the self-starters one usually finds and has a wide array of variance in styles and techniques. The album varies from instrospective to a confusing array of off-kilter rhythmic techniques that are sometimes danceable and oftentime dreary and bleak. However, some of the tracks, or just parts of them, might come off rather amatuerish. This release does not have the professional polish it needs to get true recognition and stands out in my mind as yet another example of the overpopulation of would-be musicians in the current associated music scene.

JULIAN FANE: Special Forces

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 15 2004
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Artist: JULIAN FANE
Title: Special Forces
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Julian Fane is a young guy but he isn't an inexperienced musician. He could be young but he balanced the apparent lack of experiences, which common people would think a young guy could have, with creativity. SPECIAL FORCES is his first album and it contains so many moods and musical ambiences that you'll be surprised. Julian blends atmospheres a la Robert Wyatt (on "Safety man" and "Freezing in haunted water") with classical moments (see his piano arrangements) and i.d.m. extravaganza (see the deconstructed structure of many background sounds as well as some rhythmic solutions on tracks like "Book repository" and "In space"). Tracks like "Book repository" will capture you with their hypnotic ambientations and will convice you that there should be something magic going on in Canada. SPECIAL FORCES is an album to discover little by little and you'll find something special also in its sad atmospheres. In this case sad hasn't got a self destructive meaning but it's mostly introspective and this album is really packed of feelings. Not that bad for a 21 year guy, don't you think?


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